Broke A$$ Rich Kid: Did I Just Break My Privilege?


(Allen Landver) #1

The next chapter in an extraordinary “riches to rags” story.

Broke A$$ Rich Kid (brohk as rich kid): noun

  • The physical and psychological process of going from “riches to rags”
  • Someone who becomes self reliant
  • The title of the author’s web series; based on a true story

After you cut yourself off from your parent’s financial support, you will have to adjust to your new financial circumstances, and your life will drastically change, from the milk you put into your cereal to the toilet paper you can afford. But that is only half the battle. There is also the minefield inside your brain.

When you try and cut yourself off from privilege, you’ll be uncomfortable and ashamed about being broke, but you’ll also be very aware of the fact that you are making a choice to live this way. A voice inside your mind will say, you don’t have to be broke. You’ll hear it every day when you pass by fancy restaurants downtown and look at the trendy people inside who dress just like you.

You will hear that voice repeat itself in your skull: again, and again, and again. When you’re at a party in Malibu with people who are willing to help you get on your feet, you will feel awful about that proximity to power. The voice will increase in volume: Being broke is a choice that YOU have the luxury of making because of your background, your privilege and your skin color.

You know that part of the reason you cut yourself off was to challenge your perspective. You hate yourself for “being above” using coupons, and you resent your rich friends who “refuse to fly coach.” You need to prove that human beings, no matter what walk of life they are from, are the same. You will not move until you figure that out because that is the only thing that can shift your perspective, and if you can change, so can everyone. You work hard to be empathetic to people who were born with a silver spoon, and also to those born with far less luck. Don’t ever forget: you can find good people and bad people in both circumstances.

The media will make you feel guilty. It can take your best intentions and make you doubt them through a steady stream of stories about gentrification, but the righteousness of their perspective won’t always square with your poverty. You will have two devils on your shoulder. One will call you a lazy bottom feeder for living in an an affordable housing complex, and the other one will make you feel like a terrible human being when you take an apartment from someone who deserves it more.

You will learn how to cook and how to put food on the the table, and how to provide for yourself for the first time. You’ll find department stores, where $100 gets you a new wardrobe, and realize a clean pair of boxers and some funky socks is enough to make you happy. You will live entirely the way you want to live, and despite testing the limits of your comfort on a daily basis, you will survive.

Broke A$$ Rich Kid is a dramatization of my real life experience going from riches to rags. None of the emotions I felt were a joke, and much of the shame has been transformed to humor. I hope you dig it. Click on to binge the series and then tell me what you think about the choices both Sid and I made.